From Opening Day 1998 through the final out of the 2000 World Series, things pretty much went the Yankees way.
The start of the 2001 regular season was a positive for the Yankees as well. In fact, at the close of 8/31/01, New York was in 1st place with a record of 79-56 (leading the Red Sox by 7 games).
Then, on September 1, 2001, Mike Mussina came within one strike of throwing the first perfect game in the history of Fenway Park. The Sox’ Carl Everett, as a pinch-hitter, broke it up.
Since that hit, things started going against the Yankees. There was the Mo meltdown in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. Then, in 2002, the Yanks were tarred and feathered by the Angels in the ALDS. The next year, New York had the huge letdown in the 2003 World Series against the Marlins. And, by now, everyone knows the story of the 2004 ALCS.
You know, it was Carl Everett who gave Dan Shaughnessy (who wrote The Curse of the Bambino) the less-than-affectionate nickname “CHB” that Red Sox Nation loves to use for Shaughnessy. Could the curse have been transferred to the Yankees with that Everett hit somehow?
OK, I know that’s a reach. But, whenever I think about Mussina’s game on 9/1/01, it always seems as if that game is a marker for where the good-luck road started to turn for the recent Yankees champions.
And, I have to wonder, what if Moose had gotten that last strike?